Students Have a Blast with Rocket Science

Kiwanis Car Show 2015


District Welcomes 22 New Faculty Members

Copiague New Teachers1The Copiague School District welcomed 22 new educators to their staff during their annual new teacher orientation.

To commence the 2015-16 school year, the Copiague School District hosted 22 of its newest faculty members during its annual two-day New Teacher Orientation on Aug. 25 and 26.

To kick off the orientation, Dr. Kathleen Bannon, future Superintendent of Schools, Brian J. Sales, Board of Education President, and Todd J. Andrews, Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources, provided words of welcome and insight to the culture of the Copiague School District.

“One phrase that I am sure you will hear and see many times is ‘Copiague is a great place to live and learn,’ said Mr. Sales. “We stand behind that phrase and believe that all children can learn. The future is dependent on our ability to properly educate our students and we want you to be part of that team that is making great things happen in Copiague every day.”

Following the initial introductions, teachers embarked on a short bus tour of the community and were given the opportunity to ask questions about the school district. The orientation continued with presentations by district administrators on topics including instructional technology, personnel and policy information and how to ensure a successful start to the school year. To conclude the event, new employees met with seasoned teachers in their respective school buildings to discuss best practices and building procedures.

“We have every belief that you are going to be highly successful in the job that you are embarking upon,” said Dr. Bannon.




Students Have a Blast with Rocket Science

Model Rocket1 Fourth-grade students in the Copiague School District summer enrichment program conducted a model rocket launch experiment.

The countdown was on as 36 fourth-grade students in the Copiague School District summer enrichment program put their knowledge of rocketry to the test during a rocket launch experiment on August 5.

In the weeks leading up to the experiment, students were educated on the scientific method and Sir Isaac Newton’s Laws of Motion. While learning about the history and features of a rocket, students discussed various aerodynamic forces including thrust, gravity, drag and lift. To develop a better understanding of how a rocket functions, teachers Maureen Gaertner, Christina Luft and Marie Przybyszewski led students in engaging activities including flying kites and air powered rockets. In addition, the fourth-graders studied the gravitational pull that occurs after a parachute opens in the air.

For the launch, each student assembled a 12-piece Estes model rocket. Using an Estes rocket launch pad and rocket engine igniters, students counted down from five and launched their rockets up to heights of 1,100 feet. Following liftoff, students and faculty members watched as the rocket penetrated through the air and the parachute opened, allowing the rocket to float to the ground.

“The idea behind summer school here in Copiague is that it is project-based learning,” said Gaertner. “We are trying to give the students experiences that enrich them.”

The Roots of Learning

Gardening1Second-grade students in the Copiague School District summer enrichment program measured their beanstalk plants.
Gardening2Second-grade students in the Copiague School District water the garden of vegetables they planted in the beginning of the summer enrichment program.

As part of their gardening unit, second-grade students in the Copiague School District summer enrichment program explored different elements of the plant life cycle.

To kick off the four-week summer program, teachers Terri Alzmann, Katie Dutton and Karilyn Fincke led the students in planting beanstalk seeds in a Styrofoam cup with soil. With the help of water and sunlight, the students observed and measured their beanstalks as they grew.

Students also created a vegetable garden outside the school building. In the garden, students planted a variety of vegetable seeds including peppers, carrots, basil, cilantro, and green beans. Although the vegetables were not ready to be harvested at the end of the program, students had the opportunity to make pico de gallo, which they learned could be made from the vegetables that were planted.

“We have the students plant the garden at the beginning of summer school so they can see the process of the plant life cycle,” said Dutton. “We like to teach them that they can create a sustainable garden in the future that could provide them with food.”

Gardening in Copiague

with Ralph Soluri

Density in Action

Sink and Float2Kindergarten students in the Copiague School District summer enrichment program performed a sink and float science experiment.

Kindergarten students in the Copiague School District summer enrichment program assumed the role of scientists and conducted a sink and float experience on July 22.

Led by first-grade special education teacher Samantha Tilton, students followed the scientific method by making predictions about which objects they thought would sink and float. One-by-one, students took turns placing objects including a penny, a beach ball, an apple, a cup and a key into a tub of water. The kindergartners observed as each object entered the water and wrote about their findings.

“It was nice to have this as a hands-on activity because it helps them with their learning using manipulatives,” said Tilton.



With Every Ending is a New Beginning

Copiague HS3

 Walter G. O’ Connell Copiague High School Class of 2015 graduate Michael Hararah receives his diplomas from Principal Jeanette Altruda.

On the evening of June 25, the Walter G. O’Connell Copiague High School Class of 2015 gathered for the school’s 56th commencement ceremony. Throughout the ceremony, the class’s yearbook theme “With Every Ending is a New Beginning” resonated in speeches and in the excitement of each member of the Class of 2015. Surrounded by Board of Education, family, friends, administration and teachers, more than 300 students confirmed the end of their high school careers and the possibilities awaiting their new beginning.

Prior to the presentation of the diplomas, the soon-to-be graduates listened to a variety of inspirational and encouraging messages imparted by Board of Education President Brain J. Sales, select members of the Class of 2015, Associate Superintendent Dr. Kathleen Bannon and High School Principal Jeanette Altruda. In her remarks, Mrs. Altruda spoke of the bright new beginning that awaits each graduate.

“As you move forward in your lives, remember to dream big and believe that you are capable of greatness,” advised Mrs. Altruda. “Embrace the senior class theme, ‘With Every Ending is a New Beginning’ and celebrate the circle of life. For each stage of your life that comes to an end the future shines with great possibilities of a new beginning.” Following the theme of perseverance, “I encourage you to dream big and work hard in fulfilling your dreams,” remarked Dr. Bannon.“Today is proof that if you focus on your dreams and put effort and hard work into those dreams you can achieve them.”

Class of 2015 Salutatorian Melanie Barreiro used the metaphor of a gymnastic springboard to advise her fellow classmates. “The point of a spring board is to give you a well needed boost,” she explained. “Copiague has tried its hardest to provide that for every single one of us.”

Valedictorian Natalie Korba offered words of reflection through the use of core subject area concepts including math, history, biology and English literature. She then went on to share her thoughts on how Copiague has prepared the graduates for the next chapter of their lives. “The intellectual and social knowledge that we have accumulated from growing up in a place as diverse and welcoming as Copiague, has already given us a step up in life,” she said. “Today may be the end of our journey together but it is only the beginning of our legacy. We are the Class of 2015 and we will make history.”

After Mrs. Altruda presented eager graduates with their diplomas, they moved their tassel from right to left and celebrated by tossing their caps into the air. Following the recessional march, they reunited with their loved ones as official alumni of the Copiague School District.

Copiague HS1Walter G. O’ Connell Copiague High School Class Co-President Brianna Paulino, Valedictorian Natalie Korba and Salutatorian Melanie Barreiro.
Copiague HS2Members of the Walter G. O’ Connell Copiague High School Class of 2015 with diploma’s in hand.


Writing a new chapter

CMS1Copiague Middle School eighth-grade Valedictorian Aaron Eng and Salutatorian Abigail Romero 
CMS2Copiague Middle School eighth-grade students celebrated the completion of their educational careers in middle school during the school’s moving up ceremony.

 In the gymnasium that will become very familiar to them, eighth-grade students from Copiague Middle School received their diplomas of completion during a moving up ceremony held at Walter G. O’ Connell Copiague High School on June 24. Surrounded by family, friends and fellow classmates, the ceremony included special remarks from administrators and peers as well as the presentation of certificates.

“The high school teachers are going to take to you to the next level,” said Associate Superintendent Dr. Kathleen Bannon. “If you continue to put in the effort and hard work you showed in the middle school you will be ready to tackle high school work.” In addition to her words of encouragement, Dr. Bannon challenged the students to branch out and be active in the school clubs and athletics that are available in high school.

During the ceremony, members of the Board of Education, students and welcomed guests also listened as Valedictorian Aaron Eng and Salutatorian Abigail Romero reminisced on their middle school experiences and expressed their anticipation for many opportunities that await them at the high school level.

Prior to the presentation of diplomas, Principal Andrew Lagnado provided sage advice and farewell remarks to the soon-to-be high school students. “Stay motivated, focused and goal oriented,” said Lagnado. “Go that extra mile because what you put into it will determine what you get out of it. These next few years will lay the ground work for your futures so remember to always make positive decisions and work hard.”

The sixth- and seventh- grade band performed “Westwind,” as the procession of students took their first steps as newly anointed graduates.


Writing a New Chapter

 SEWSusan E. Wiley Elementary School celebrated the success and accomplishments of fifth-grade students at its Class Day ceremony.
DGEDeauville Gardens East Elementary School celebrated the success and accomplishments of fifth-grade students at its Class Day ceremony.
DGWDeauville Gardens West Elementary School celebrated the success and accomplishments of fifth-grade students at its Class Day ceremony.
GNRGreat Neck Road Elementary School celebrated the success and accomplishments of fifth-grade students at its Class Day ceremony

To celebrate the accomplishments of their fifth-grade students, the four elementary schools in the Copiague School District – Deauville Gardens East, Deauville Gardens West, Great Neck Road and Susan E. Wiley – hosted individual Class Day moving up ceremonies.

Parents, faculty members, administrators, and invited guests attended the class day ceremonies, at which the students were recognized for their outstanding academic achievement. During the ceremonies, awards were conferred for academic excellence in core subject areas as well as the Presidential Education Award. Students also demonstrated their musical talents and entertained the audience by performing special musical selections in between award presentations.

At each elementary school, the students heard words of encouragement from their respective principals, as well as Superintendent of Schools Charles A. Leunig. “We are very proud of your accomplishments,” said Mr. Leunig. “At the middle school you are going to have many opportunities to get involved with clubs and athletics. Get involved in as many as you can but make sure academics always comes first.”

Following Mr. Leunig’s theme of taking advantage of opportunities afforded to them, Associate Superintendent Dr. Kathleen Bannon addressed the students and guests at the Deauville Gardens West and Great Neck Road ceremonies. “Everyone sitting in this room can be whatever they choose to be however you can’t do it by sitting back and letting life pass you by,” stated Dr. Bannon. “Build on what you have started here at the elementary level. This is the first step and you are certainly ready for the next step to middle school.”

Following the presentation of diplomas, the newest class of elementary school graduates gathered with parents, family members and friends to rejoice in completing this chapter of their educational careers.


Honoring Superb Seniors

Copiague Senior Awards1Copiague Chamber of Commerce President Sharon Fattoruso and Vice President Donna Farina presented Walter G. O’Connell Copiague High School seniors Dorota Narewska and Lorena Villatoro each with a $500 business scholarship.

Walter G. O’Connell Copiague High School celebrated the academic and extra curricular accomplishments of graduating seniors in the Class of 2015 at its annual Senior Awards Ceremony on June 11.

Members of the Board of Education, administration, staff and parent associations and community organizations gathered in the high school auditorium to acknowledge the achievements and hard work of seniors throughout their academic careers in Copiague. During the evening, more than 60 academic and community scholarships were presented to deserving seniors. Additionally, students were honored with academic awards presented by faculty members, administrators and department directors and coordinators.

“This evening is our opportunity to celebrate the achievements of our graduating students,” said Principal Jeanette Altruda. “Each student with us this evening has been identified for executing traits of hard work, service and commitment in various areas of our school and community. Seniors, you have performed in a manner that allows us to continue our tradition of Copiague Pride.”

Copiague Senior Awards2The Ferriso family presented Walter G. O’Connell Copiague High School senior David Szabo with the Joseph Alfredo Ferriso Memorial Scholarship.
 Copiague Senior Awards3SSGT Lindsey McLaughlin presented Walter G. O’Connell Copiague High School seniors (from left) Natalie Korba, Jesus Flamenco, David Szabo, Naomi Marmol, Lauren Zisman and William Hernandez with United States Marine Corps Awards.
Copaigue Senior Awards4Tom and Cheryl Walsh presented three memorial scholarships in memory of their daughter Brittany Walsh. Gabriella Clement received the Girls Soccer Scholarship, Carlo Giarraffa was awarded the Memorial Scholarship and Chaukim Peters received the Girls Track Scholarship.


Paving the Way for Political Success

Skylah McBean-AdamsWalter G. O’Connell Copiague High School junior Skylah McBean-Adams was selected to participate in the ninth annual Young Women’s Political Leadership Program.


Skylah McBean-Adams, a Walter G. O’Connell Copiague High School junior, was selected to be one of 60 young women to participate in Running Start’s ninth annual Young Women’s Political Leadership Program held in Washington D.C. from July 6 through 12.

In February, McBean-Adams was encouraged by high school science chairperson Renee Locker to apply for the opportunity. With her leadership in the community and ambition to succeed, McBean-Adams was a great candidate for the program.

The Young Women’s Political Leadership Program focuses on the important issues facing young women today and gives participants the tools to run for office. Along with other participants, McBean-Adams will be instructed on a host of topics such as public speaking, networking, media training, and campaign basics.

Running Start is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, based in Washington, D.C., with a mission to give high school young women the encouragement, support, knowledge, and inspiration they need to be leaders in their schools and communities today, and be leaders on the national stage at a young age.

“Skylah is a student who is committed to excellence,” said Mary Klein, director of guidance. “She is an ambitious and focused student who will continue to set high standards for herself and develop leadership skills to support her as she moves ahead in her life endeavors.”


Every Game Counts

Rebholz 200 winsDirector of Physical Education and Athletics Pete Cesare (right) presented Walter G. O’Connell Copiague High School boys varsity head coach Steve Rebholz with a special basketball to commemorate his 200th game  

Earlier this year, Steve Rebholz, a physical education teacher within the Copiague School District, won his 200th game as the Walter G. O’ Connell Copiague High School boys varsity basketball head coach.

For this milestone achievement, Director of Physical Education and Athletics Pete Cesare presented Rebholz with a special commemorative basketball.